Certainly, this isn't always the case. Age tends to cloud one's mind -- not unlike the Dark Side of The Force (snicker snicker) -- and I've always thought that this happens mostly because I'm carrying a lot of excess baggage up there. Having sat through countless hours of television and movies -- as well as living life itself -- my brain is pretty well chock full with about everything it can presently hold. Adding further layers with the incredible number of books, graphic novels, and general whatnot, I can attest to the fact that it ain't easy keeping everything straight some day ... but I do honestly give it the best try.
That's why I come to you this morning with a bit of confusion.
From what I've been reading and listening to on the Information Superhighway, it would seem that the forthcoming Disney+ streaming series Ahsoka is blessed to be the 'second coming' of Star Wars ... which, after the 'second coming' of The Mandalorian wouldn't this be the 'third coming?' There's an awful lot riding on this program -- at least, that's the indication I'm culling from fandom this morning -- and that's what has me just a bit befuddled.
I thought this character was universally loathed by fandom?
That's what I remember, anyway.
Introduced in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie in 2008 (which, yes, I'm one of the rare few who actually watched this one in theaters), Ahsoka Tano -- as voiced by the lovely Ashley Eckstein -- was a Jedi padawan that Yoda decided would be best served in being trained by non-Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker. Apparently, Snips (as she was called) had a bit of an attitude, and Yoda deduced that pairing her up with Anakin might achieve two goals. First, it would demonstrate to the apprentice that you can still "be yourself" while honing a stronger set of -- erm -- social skills to benefit society; and, second, her brash and mildly persnickety attitude might also temper Anakin's own brashness and -- erm -- persnicketyness. (Is that a word?) However, I think that Ahsoka's obvious childishness behavior worked against her on screens big and small, forcing the majority of fans to kinda/sorta turn against her as a character having greater purpose in this universe.
Eckstein -- I believe -- should be credited to winning over fans near and far. While the character she inhabited wasn't exactly given either the best introduction to the galaxy far, far away nor written seamlessly into what existing canon there was for the Clone Wars era, the actress's incredible ability to both disarm haters (killing them with kindness) and bolster enthusiasm for a whole helluva lot of intellectual properties (check out her HerUniverse.com business to see what I mean) made her a favorite on the convention circuit. I suspect this earned her an awful lot of goodwill amongst men, women, and children; and the end result is that Ahsoka's reputation was probably improved by Eckstein's incessant ebullience.
Tano's addition to live action required her to be recast, and Rosario Dawson answered the call to now play the somewhat 'fallen apprentice' for Disney+. Her first appearance in The Mandalorian's second season (Chapter 13: The Jedi) was mostly well-received by fans (at least, so much as I followed it at the time). There may've been some minor gripes here and there regarding her performance, but Dawson did an affable job picking up the lightsabers and swinging them in this opportunity. She reappeared in the role for a bit of a cameo in The Book Of Boba Fett, but given that there really wasn't all that much for her to do in that outing I'll let that work be.
Flashing forward to where we are today -- deep in the midsts of a horrifically tepid third season of The Mandalorian -- it would seem that the wider Star Wars TV Universe finds itself in some disarray.
Fans are voicing some legitimate criticisms about the Mando and friends show, fearing that it has forsaken all that made it a once shining star in the Outer Rim. While I have mostly avoiding wandering into that fray (I did write about the 'State of the Empire' here), I've conceded with many that, yes, Mando -- from a narrative standpoint -- seems to have lost The Way; the latest installment wasted what prospects it had on celebrity cameos (Jack Black, Lizzo, and Christopher Lloyd) and essentially put the show's namesake character on the back burner yet again behind guest star Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze, a character whose backstory is honestly too complex to account for in this simply article. Suffice it to say, fans were not happy, and who can blame them? You don't go to a Clint Eastwood movie to watch the supporting players, and our once somewhat fearsome lead has been reduced to -- sigh -- some of the cheesiest one-liners this side of a B-Movie script.
It's a very human thing to do that -- once something new becomes old -- you turn your eyes toward something fresh, something vivid, and something that might return your perspective to untold heights; and I can't help but think that's what is going on (in fandom) with the amped up anticipation for the Ahsoka series. We've seen very, very little of it online (trailer will be posted below), and we've heard very, very little of what its characters and circumstances ultimately might be. But because it's finally building stride right smack dab in the middle of The Mandalorian's possible demise, are we simply giving it our blessing as the all-new 'Chosen One' well before it's aired?
You folks know that I never like to rain on anyone's parade.
So much of what fandom is these days sadly is the endless blogs and vlogs highlighting what's wrong in the world of pop culture, and I always try very, very hard to avoid becoming part of the usual noise online. Growing up at a time when I did, I had to make myself keep busy with creating my own little stories to fill the time in between truly great flicks hitting the silver screen. Today's audiences have a billion channels to choose from, so I think fandom -- as a consequence -- tends to take the easy way out: if they don't like a certain show, then they trash it and move on to something else ... which ends up being inferior, they trash it, keep moving, and the cycle begins a new. But because of who I am -- because of when I was raised -- I do tend to exercise a bit of patience. I'm willing to sit through -- ahem -- 40 minutes of The Mandalorian even if it only delivers ten good minutes ... and that's because I know what it's like to go without. Most of today's younger viewers? They don't know that struggle, and it shows.
I guess all I'm trying to say here is that maybe we -- as an audience -- should temper our own expectations of Ahsoka. Keeping in mind that so many out there hated the character during so much of The Clone Wars, that might be prudent advice. She's older now, true, and she's hopefully wiser. She definitely was a more mature character in Star Wars: Rebels, but I don't want to open a whole new can of worms regarding what I thought of that show. Let's just say it might not be pretty.
In any event ...
There's a bit of Star Wars news out there in cyberspace today, and the biggest bit includes a trailer for Ahsoka. Feast your eyes on it, kiddies. Whether you like it or not, it's coming. Whether you love the character or not, she may -- or may not -- be the 'second coming' (or 'third') for that galaxy far, far away. Trust in The Force, and let's hope for good things. This is the way.